• FirefoxInstall the new Firefox »


    Can the hospital legally send this bill to collections?

    I made payment arrangements with the hospital on a bill from May and have been paying regularly every month. In November, my insurance company finished processing my claim and made a substantial payment. My next statement from the hospital did not reflect my previous payment arrangements. I have left several messages with the business office for the hospital to straighten this out but no one calls back. I've been making my previously agreed on monthly payments while trying to get in touch with the hospital. Today, I got a letter from a collection agency. I called the collection agency and it's not one of those dumby letters sent to scare you into paying. My question is, is this legal?? I thought that as long as I had made payment arrangements and was meeting them, I could not be sent to collections. Any back up you can give would be really helpful for when I try calling the hospital back again tomorrow. Thanks!!
    a few seconds ago 5 Answers

    Best Answer

    Chosen by Asker
    Make sure that you have your records of payments (carbon copy of the checks, bank or credit card statements) together and check your credit report. Send a dispute to any credit bureaus that notifies them of inaccuracy and be ready to send them proof that you've held up your end. If you don't have the repayment plan in writing, you may be screwed (but this would be true of *any* financing) but the fact that you're sending in payments shows that you're trying to work with the hospital. Many creditors would rather work with you than go to collections/repo (which doesn't work in this case), but it's surprising that they did. If they sent you to a 3rd party collections, then they've written you off as a non-payer and the collections agency is trying to get what they can out of you. You can send the collection agency (via certified mail) what's known as a "drop dead letter" and I'll include an example below that I'm "borrowing" from Clark Howard: (Date) To Whom it may concern: I have been contacted by your company about a debt you allege I owe. I am instructing you not to contact me further in connection with this debt. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a federal law, you may not contact me further once I have notified you not to do so. Sincerely, (Name) (Account No.)
    a few seconds ago

    Other Answers

    • If you are not getting any cooperation from the hospital, dispute this with the credit bureaus. Call NCAC (customer service) and explain the situation. They in turn have to verify the information. It's possible that the hospital turned it over to collections by mistake, this has been known to happen.

      by Incognito - 2 hours ago

    • As stated earlier, if you do not have any type of written agreement to make payments, you may be out of luck. My mom makes payments of 10-25 dollars a month towards hers, they are on a fixed income, and still the hospital turns it over. My only console on that is, As long as you are paying something, they cannot take your state taxes. I am not sure about the laws in the state you are in, but in South Carolina, the state can take your taxes for hospital bills due.

      by Jennifer D - 2 hours ago

    • It was my understanding that if you made arrangements AND were making regular payments they wouldn't send it to collections. It may have to do with a change in who runs the office you spoke to. It's possible there has been a personnel change and they're strictly looking at things that went into the new year. I think if you are trying to correct things and still making payments they cannot actually do anything except threaten you. Do you have the name of the person you spoke to when making the arrangements originally? I would call and ask specifically for that person.

      by MissWong - 2 hours ago

    • Regardless of payment plans, they can report to the credit bureaus at the end of their billing cycle - usually 30 days after the bill is due. They have the legal right to expect payment in a timely manner. My suggestion would be to get a loan to pay off the bill and make payments to your bank.

      by siren381 - 2 hours ago

    Recommended Articles

    Yahoo Small Business Services